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C. Querner wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why does the Catholic Church put so much emphasis on Mary?

I am Catholic but, do not feel comfortable praying the Rosary. Ten prayers for Mary and One for Jesus. When a certain woman lifted up her voice, and said unto Him [Jesus]:

"Blessed are the paps that you sucked."

He replied:

"No blessed are those that believe in me."

I hear so much about co-redemption with Mary and feel I would have to quit being a Catholic
if that happened.

C.

  { Why does the Church put so much emphasis on Mary and her co-redemption instead of Jesus? }

John replied:

Dear C.,

Thanks for your question.

The Rosary is prayer or meditation that is very Christocentric. It was developed in the Middle Ages to fight a heresy about Jesus, Some were teaching that Jesus was not God from the moment of conception. To counter this Mary appear to St. Dominic and gave him the Rosary;
it has fifteen mysteries which revolve around the Incarnation.

Starting from the Annunciation to Mary, that she would conceive Jesus by the power of The Holy Spirit, these mysteries take us through Jesus' life as [Man and God] to His Suffering, Death, Burial and Resurrection. The last two mysteries, Mary's Assumption and Coronation, appear to be about Mary, but deeper meditation show that they are about the Body of Christ, the Church, who will some day be assumed into Heaven and be crowned, the Bride of Christ. These events did happen to Our Lady, and she has always been seen since the earliest Christian writings, as the Icon of the Church.

Sadly, many do not realize that they should be meditating on these mysteries as they pray but when the Rosary was developed, it was the way people learned. In the thirteenth century, you could not go up the street to you local store and buy a Bible. Most people couldn't read, so the Church used our prayer life as a way of drilling home Truths about the Catholic faith.

If you go through the words of the Hail Mary carefully, you'll see this prayer was given to fight a heresy about Jesus not being God from the moment of conception. The first part of the Hail Mary is straight from the Scriptures in Luke, Chapter One.

Let us dissect the main points

Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God

Again, this prayer drives home the Incarnation. The title Mother of God is there to insure a proper understanding of who Jesus Christ is.

By becoming a man, the Eternal Word chose to make man a participant in the redemption of humanity. Therefore, everyone, who is "in Christ", becomes a co-heir and co-laborer with Christ. This "collaboration" in the spreading of the Gospel is nothing less then co-redemption. Every time a Christian leads someone to Christ, or assists a fellow Christian in the process of sanctification by word, dead, action, or prayer they are playing the role of co-redeemer. That is what it means to be a co-redeemer and indeed a Christian.

Mary played a particular role in the redemption of mankind by bringing Christ into the world.
She continues that role by her intercession. St. James wrote that "the prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16) Mary, being righteous and in the presence of God, and therefore knowing His will, has an intrinsically powerful ministry of intercession.

You say you are a Catholic. Well, I'm a former Baptist Minister, and I used to have all the same reservations you do. I'm glad you are asking these questions. We can help you with them, but I would encourage you to study the faith a bit deeper before you make such sweeping generalizations or superficial judgments. The Church has been here for 2000 years longer then either one of us. If there is something that seems odd to us, it's our understanding that is incorrect, not the Church.

Well my friend, may you fulfill all your dreams in Christ, Jesus, and by all means stay in touch.

Under His Mercy,

John DiMascio

Mike replied:

Hi, C. —

You said:
I am Catholic but, do not feel comfortable praying the Rosary. Ten prayers for Mary and One for Jesus.

We have addresses this In another answer here. If you read our whole answer you will learn a lot more about the history of the Rosary and why it is important for all Christians. We also have to keep in mind that the Rosary is a Marian devotion although their are devotions to Our Blessed Lord as well, like:

  • To His Sacred Heart
  • The Stations of the Cross, and
  • the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

You said:
I hear so much about co-redemption with Mary and feel I would have to quit being a Catholic if that happened.

  • Why?
  • Because it undermines the sole work of redemption by Jesus, Our Lord?

If the answer is Yes, then we have to turn to Our Lord and ask him if he thought His mother was important in the process of redeeming the world. We have to ask the question:

  • Could Jesus have become a complete man in all aspects of life, from conception, without His mother? <Of course not.>

Look at all the good stuff you have done in your life C.

  • Could you have done it without a mother and father? <Of course not.>

Your Christian charity and prayers are possible because of your mother and father.
They cooperated with God to bring you into the world.

In the same way, Mary cooperated with God to bring Our Lord into the world. Because of her
cooperation
with God, the Church has always referred to her as Co-Redemptrix. This is nothing new C. The Church has taught this since Patristic times.

It is a doctrine of the Church though, not a dogma; the difference being a dogma is solemnly defined. It may be declared as a dogma of the Church in the future.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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